Contact PE Autolot
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Tel:       041 365 0001

Fax:       041 365 0003

 

Darran Staffen

darran@peautolot.co.za

Auto Trader South Africa is the country's number one place to list and buy motor vehicles, and that is a fact! Nevertheless, its second-hand motor vehicles business has fallen behind its primary rivals.  To make amends on this, priority has been given to Auto Trader user cars. 2012 was a milestone year with the re-design of AutoTrader.co.za. Now, mobile is the way forward, and Auto Trader South Africa is investing more time and other resources in this platform. The mobile first approach has acquired some momentum; becoming very popular to and adopted by first time car buyers, who are very much aware of other options like Used Cars For Sale and Gumtree South Africa as sources for automotive lists. Over 45000 second-hand motor vehicles are listed on Auto Trader, and if not all are coming from second-hand car dealers across the country. Furthermore, Auto Trader is the number 2 most popular website in SA where personal vehicle sellers gather.

The year we are in, 2014, has seen the prices of new cars rise significantly more than the prices of used cars, and the rise has been at a fast pace. The used cars on Auto Trader now seem like a more viable option. This is obviously great when you are pressed for cash and your budget is low.

In 2013, Auto Trader South Africa was bought-out by a consortium of SA investors including Rand Merchant Bank, which is one of SA's largest investment groups. Although, the previous owners, Trader Media Group still work on a consultancy role with Auto Trader SA. The Auto Trader website is one of SA's websites that get the greatest number of visitors. On the most recent rankings, the site was sitting at position fifteen among other very popular websites such as news agencies and Google.  Strictly speaking, it's unsurprising that mainstream search engines also compete with Auto Trader's online presence, which as mentioned above, has one of the biggest communities in SA. However, the main focus of Auto Trader is enabling us to buy and sell cars, unlike the unlimited focus of search engines and other classifieds for that matter. Just over 905 000 unique visitors or UVs went onto the Auto Trader website last September alone, which was the highest number ever recorded. There's no doubt that figure has grown further since September. A more surprising number was the over 30 million page views or PVs recorded in the same time, which was third in South Africa!

AutoTrader.co.za is great because of the following: it has the financial strength of the Trader Media brand of the UK, and the new owners, Rand Merchant Bank. South Africa's growing appetite for driving is another reason why Auto Trader is so popular. The current owners' commitment to AutoTrader is a result purely from a financial need to make money, and leverage the brand Trader Media built more than 20 years ago. That is why the UK counterpart of Auto Trader SA magazine will discontinue circulation, while in South Africa, where it still has a strong market will retain the print magazine. 15 000 – that is the number of copies the mag distributes to South Africans.

In 1992, Auto Trader South Africa was launched, and grew exponentially from there onwards. This started with the magazine and then a website and now a smart phone app. In 2013, the group noted that the move from print to web had just only began in Ireland and SA, with Auto Trader South Africa showing very promising results moving forward. Encouraging the use of the website and other technologies is why Auto Trader is set to do great things for buyers and sellers of cars. Focusing on cars of all types will do Auto Trader a lot of good. Variety matters! Also, being wherever buyers are, i.e. being on mobile, will help make Auto Trader a part of people's everyday lives. The last strategy is to increase readers of the magazine.

Sadly, the phenomenon that Auto Trader has become, might be jeopardized by bad people who roam the internet to find victims. The downside of sites like Auto Trader is that when private sellers are allowed to sell their cars to buyers freely, a few get cheeky and try to trick buyers into buying cars they would otherwise not buy. These could involve stolen cars, unrecorded vehicles like those illegally imported into South Africa, or most commonly, cars with bad or no service history. These experiences discredit platforms like Auto Trader. A better alternative would be to buy from credible dealer sites.

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